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What to Expect During a Total Home Rewire

Rewiring your home can be one of the most important safety investments you make.

Tens of thousands of electrical fires occur every year in the U.S., and a rewire can help you prevent such an event from happening to you. If you’re not sure if your home needs a rewire, check out these telltale warning signs. If you’re ready for an electrical overhaul, however, knowing what to expect can make the process much smoother.

How Long Will a Complete Rewire Take?

A small home may take a few days. On the other hand, a larger home with tough-to-access wiring (which may involve the removal of sections of wall or ceiling) could take much more than a week. Naturally, upgrading a 60-amp system to 200-amp service, and electrical services like replacing a fuse box with a circuit breaker, adding new circuits, or grounding a home can all add to the duration (and price tag) of an electrical rewire.

Can I Stay at Home During the Rewire?

A total rewire occurs in two stages: first fix and second fix. These stages are messy, involving plaster, ladders, drilling, and an overall “construction” setting. While rare, it is possible to live at home during a total rewire – but depending on the complexity of your system, this may not be feasible.

Many total rewires occur before a house goes on the market (when the home is empty), but sometimes, homeowners to decide to upgrade while they’re residing in the house. In this case, cover all furniture and appliances with dust-proof plastic, move pieces to the center of rooms as necessary, and remove as many valuables from the spaces as possible.

Protecting belongings is not an electrician’s responsibility, which is why it’s a good idea to consider moving furniture to a temporary storage unit during the rewire. Depending on the scenario, it may even cost more to rewire a home while you’re living in it.

How Much Will It Cost?

If it’s a total rewire, you will be looking at an investment. A large, complex rewire could cost over $10,000. Replacing pre-1940s “knob and tube” wiring is going to increase the price, as is replacing rubber-insulated wiring, aluminum wiring, or other older wiring systems. However, if the home needs it, it’s the responsible thing to do. Further, if you even mean to sell, a home must be able to pass an electrical inspection.

The benefits of a complete electrical rewire far outweigh the costs in most cases. Houses become sellable, insurance becomes cheaper (or available at all), residents can run modern appliances, and most importantly, the home is safer.

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